Wednesday's preliminary hearing for James "Skip" Brooks was held in the Riverton Circuit Court, which is surrounded by Conex steel boxes for additional security. (Ernie Over photo)

(Updated at 4:15 p.m. with corrected architecture firm.)

(Riverton, Wyo.) – In an effort to drum up legislative support for a new Riverton Justice Center, Fremont County Commission Vice Chairman Travis Becker showed several state legislators around the current facility on Thursday afternoon.

Becker said he took Rep. Kendell Kroaker, R-Evansville; Rep. Patrick Goggles, D-Ethete; Rep. Rita Campbell, R-Shoshoni; Rep. Dave Miller, R-Riverton; and Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, on a tour of the court facilities. Also joining the tour was Fremont County Sheriff Skip Hornecker and Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness.

“It’s a facility you can’t explain,” he said. “You have to see it to believe it.”

After being denied funds from the State Loan and Investment Board in June to build a newer and safer justice center, the county was directed to seek funds from the state legislature. Becker said he is making it a point to take any state legislators traveling through town to see the justice center.

Becker said Riverton Circuit Court Judge Wesley Roberts took a recess from a jury trial to meet briefly with the tour group.

Overall, he said the tone of the meeting was positive.

The driving force behind replacing the Riverton court facility was the discovery of a bullet hole last summer that pierced the exterior of the building and entered into the courtroom. Since that time the commission has surrounded the Riverton justice center, which also houses county attorney and sheriff’s offices, with Conex boxes for added protection.

Earlier this month the commission approved moving to the next design phase for a future Riverton Justice Center, and today the committee in charge of looking at large projects was instructed to explore more funding possibilities. The architect firm, Reilly Johnson, was in town earlier this week to meet with members of the circuit, county attorney and sheriff’s offices on the next design phase. The process is expected to take two to three months.

The entire project is estimated to cost $4,993,000.

Preliminary exterior design of the proposed Riverton justice center. (Graphics provided by Reilly Johnson Architecture)

Preliminary exterior design of the proposed Riverton justice center. (Graphics provided by Reilly Johnson Architecture)